Flashback or Die Dreaming!
Fack the Megalomaniac raged through town, pounding the ground with his gigantic fists, hurling cars into buildings, and bellowing his evil laugh as he stomped on the crowds of people running for safety.
Johnny Phenomenal and Janet Ultimatum were tucked away in the private lounge at Spherics finishing a Chocolate Ocean. A Chocolate Ocean is a dessert featuring a large bowl of warm, melted chocolate filled with unexpected goodies, such as caramels, raisins, cherries, bits of pretzels, and crushed nuts. A Chocolate Ocean is also slang for a sexual act too lewd to describe in mixed company.
Janet looked flush as she sagged into the back of the couch. Her body trembled. “Well, that was…good,” she sighed. Johnny looked content, but remained silent. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and climbed onto the couch next to her. The distant thuds outside were coming closer. Janet’s face brightened as she suddenly clutched Johnny’s arm.
“Do you dream, Johnny Phenomenal?” she asked in an anxious whisper.
“Of course, I dream,” Johnny said weakly. “Everybody dreams.”
“What do you dream about, Johnny Phenomenal?” Janet said, clinging closer to Johnny’s body.
“I don’t know...I don’t remember my dreams,” Johnny said, turning slightly away.
“Then how do you know you dream, Johnny Phenomenal?” Janet giggled.
“Because...everybody dreams,” said Johnny.
Fack’s thundering rampage reverberated throughout the room. The walls buzzed from vibration and the overhead lights swung in circles from side to side.
Johnny sat forward and asked, “Where’s my flight jacket?”
“I don’t know - on the floor, maybe?” Janet shrugged. “Wanna do a Coloriffic?” she asked, smiling and reaching into her bag. A Coloriffic is a thin mask of clear plastic that adheres to a person’s skin and causes the mind to experience visuals more vibrant and intense than dreaming. These experiences can be very dangerous since Coloriffics are taken while the user is awake, with the thin sheet placed snuggly over the face so that the user can inhale the chemicals directly into the mouth and nostrils in order to rush the effect to the brain. Since a perfect seal is formed around the mouth and nose, suffocation is a possibility, as is permanent brain damage. Coloriffics have also been linked to murders and suicides, but definitive proof of either has never been offered. Although Coloriffics are not addictive they are habit-forming, and, in Cyrus Twelve, anything habitual is considered immoral and, therefore, illegal. Coloriffics are most often used by teenagers like Johnny Phenomenal and Janet Ultimatum rather than adults and young children. Adults are older Cyrusians who are paid to create, manufacture, and distribute the things that they don’t want their children to use. Young children can usually be found watching Swervus on television. Although Swervus is not addictive he is habit-forming, and, in Cyrus Twelve, anything habitual is considered immoral and, therefore, illegal. Swervus is currently the richest entertainer on Cyrus Twelve. (Originally, Swervus was a mediocre television newscaster whose final moment on air culminated with his equating finding an apple pie at the annual bake sale – a rarity at any time, in any place, on Cyrus Twelve - to finding a black man at a hockey game who wasn’t selling beer or peanuts. He was, of course, accused of racism and forced to resign. His defense? “Just because it’s racist doesn’t mean it’s not funny.” A few years later, he changed his appearance and intended audience and became Swervus to the delight of millions of ignorant children.)
Johnny found his jacket and slid his arms into the sleeves. As he fastened the row of buttons on the chest, he turned to Janet and asked, “Have you seen my rubber?” A rubber is a thin, protective hood which Johnny Phenomenal wears on his head during battle. It is black on the outside and sticky on the inside and fits from the forehead to the base of the skull and over the ears. A rubber is also slang for an antiquated form of contraception.
Janet laughed. “Jeez, can’t you think of a better name for your helmet, Johnny Phenomenal?”
Johnny stood silent, staring an icy stare, then said through his teeth, “It’s not a helmet, it’s a hood, Janet.”
Janet ignored him and continued, “No, I haven’t seen your rubber, Johnny Phenomenal!” She giggled again.
The sounds of calamity outside were steady. It was as close as Fack could get to Spherics without walking into it and crushing it.
Janet pulled Johnny’s rubber out from under a cushion and threw it at him. “I guess you’re off to do stupid superhero stuff now, huh, Johnny Phenomenal?” she pouted.
“I’m not a superhero – I’m just a kid,” said Johnny.
Contrary to his statement, Johnny Phenomenal stood proud and heroic, appearing so determined with his chest pushed out and his head held high. He allowed only a momentary show of weakness when he glanced at Janet, but quickly resumed his proud stance and look of determination.
“He’s so determined, that Johnny Phenomenal,” Janet thought.
And Johnny thought again, “No, I’m not. I’m just a kid…”
To be continued...
Next time, Johnny Phenomenal battles bomb-sniffing dogs and falls in love with his greatest enemy in: “Foes For Essence!” or “It Was Tom Foolery Who Stole All Their Jewelry!”